Tuesday, August 06, 2002

Our last day. And Rome is closing. Closing. Most of the city. Why?
"Ferie" has arrived.
Ferie is an institution that Josh and I agree would never make it in America, it totally befuddles the capitalist mentality. For most of August--the very apogee of Italy's tourist season, iron gates and metal chains lock down shops as Romans disappear from the city en masse, mainly "al mare" (to the sea), leaving only small storefront signs behind with the dates of their return. This is why I can't find myself a single cannoli in the entire city. Absurd.
Today: vatican city.

While staring at Raphael's School of Athens, transfixed by the desire to to climb right into the painting, I realized that no one was making eye contact. Every great thinker I could find in the painting directed his gaze either at a scroll, a blackboard, or someone else who was not looking back at them--except, as Josh pointed out to me, Aristotle and Plato, who focus the scene at the center as the only two who meet eyes. I also became intent upon a writer, propping himself against a wall in the background, intent upon his volume and his quill, his hair blown dramatically to the left by a wind that seems to touch only him.